Support after high school

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Hi there! I was pondering a recent letter from my teen sponsored child. who said she would like to be a doctor. It is my understanding that children in Africa often go to school (equivalent to US high school) until about age 21. After that, they often graduate the Compassion program as well. There is no more support, or sponsor contact, even if the kids go on to university and further their studies.

I have read that a reason for cutting off contact/support is because Compassion does not want to to create dependency on sponsors. My question is: has Compassion considered extending sponsorship of a child already being sponsored after the age of 21, as long as that child (adult) is pursuing higher education? It seems to me that this may result in even more people escaping the cycle of poverty, if they can be sponsored through high education. Even in first world countries, many are supporter through higher education.

Is there anything that remotely allows sponsors to continue to help with college expensee beyond the "final family gift" that can go towarfs education expenses? If not, has it ever been considered to allow sponsors to continue to support and encourage children they sponsor through high education?
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Dana Parker

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Posted 1 year ago

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Christina, Employee

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Hi Dana! I hear your heart for your ministry and your desire for every child to realize and achieve their dreams! The completion age in our program is 22 years old, except in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. Although many children do have a delayed start to their schooling due to difficult circumstances, we do see many children graduate from high school and pursue university or vocational training while still in the Compassion program :). In the past, students could apply to be in the Leadership Development Program, but we have been transitioning out of this program into a different youth development program. Youth Development Strategies will improve development opportunities for all beneficiaries ages 12 and above. These strategies will strengthen the church's outreach by allowing them to provide opportunities that are relevant in the local context. Best of all, it truly reflects our commitment to realize the God-given potential in each one of our beneficiaries.

While the Leadership Development Program was successful in providing leadership development opportunities to numerous young adults, it was only available to a small percentage of Child Sponsorship Program graduates. Compassion believes that leadership development is an important part of our Holistic Child Development Model that we wish to provide to every beneficiary in our program. This transition allows us to integrate the best features of our current LDP and offer them to every child. Some students may choose to attend university, while others may receive vocational or ministry training. No matter what they pursue, our youth development strategies should give beneficiaries the opportunity to explore their dreams and apply their individual interests and passions into a future career of their choosing. Unfortunately, Compassion cannot provide oversight or direction on sending money to children after they have completed and left the program. Each sponsor should weigh the mechanisms and possible risks involved in any international giving. Sadly, we cannot recommend or facilitate giving funds outside of our programs. 
We encourage you to write a letter to your sweet Elodie and ask her to speak with her program director about her individual options.

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